TV Recap: True Detective, ‘Form and Void’ (Season Finale)


The Scene of the Crime (Episode Summary): Rust (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty (Woody Harrelson) put the final pieces together and mount up to take down the Yellow King. They deduce that the man they are searching for is Erol Childress (Boardwalk Empire’s Glen Fleshler) who was revealed at the end of the previous episode and way way back in 1995 when he was a mowing the lawn at the school Rust was investigating. Meanwhile, we delve further into the world of the Yellow King finding that he’s involved with his half-sister (Garden State’s Ann Dowd), lives in utter decay and is absolutely out of his God forsaken mind. The two detectives, after letting their former investigator Papania (Tory Kittles) to be on the ready, head out to the Yellow King’s palace of squalor to end this once and for all.

The Lead Investigator (Favorite Performance): And the Emmy goes to Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is given a scene where he’s allowed to wax poetic about life, death and the afterlife. It’s absolutely spine-tingling listening to him talk about his late father and daughter with tears in his eyes. It’s the type of performance that locks up every award imaginable and it is utterly riveting. This is a scene you’ll need a few hankies for, because it really will touch you. The McConaissance rolls on.

They Could’ve Spared Us These Gory Details: Nothing worse than seeing two dirty, half siblings getting intimate and turned on by the story of one of them being molested by their grandfather.

The Devil in the Details (The Little Thing You Loved): There were so many great things tonight, but two things really stand out. First, the guest starring roles of two fascinating characters. The Yellow King might be unrecognizable to most, but to Boardwalk Empire fans you’ll remember him as bootlegger George Remus, the man who constantly refers to himself in the third person. While he was an annoying character in that series, tonight he was absolutely haunting and terrifying. His taunting of Rust in his “palace” added to the terror and claustrophobia of that scene. Then there was his lover/sister played by Ann Dowd. Where have you seen her before? She was Natalie Portman’s mom in Garden State. Yes, the same mom who scolded Ports about leaving the hamster wheel in portrayed such a vile and disgusting human being.

The other little thing you gotta love is the evolution of Rust and Marty’s friendship. Tonight was a huge game changer for them and you can watch how these two really (and slowly) grow in respect, admiration and love for each other…in their own messed up, dysfunctional and antisocial way.

The Debriefing (Thoughts on the Episode): Oh…My…God. ‘Form and Void’ was the perfect ending to a near perfect television series. This episode was as tense and taught as a Hitchockian thriller and as frightening as any horror movie this reviewer has ever seen. The entire sequence within Carcosa (the palace/lair of The Yellow King) was scary, plain and simple. Erol’s haunting taunts of Rust just added to the heightened sense of terror. The resolution to the Yellow King storyline was completely satisfying both from a creative and viewing standpoint. No cheap way out, no neat bow, this was visceral and painful…and satisfying. Then there’s the evolution of the Rust/Marty friendship which has always been the heart of the show. Watching Harrelson and McConaughey together was a master class in acting. Funny, a few years ago these two were co-starring in Surfer Dude, a movie panned as one of the worst ever made, now they’re in a show that’s being lauded as one of the best in a long time.

If this was the last time we ever see Rust and Marty or even True Detective as a series, it ended perfectly. We can move on from this series feeling both complete and exhilarated. As we stated way back in January, True Detective is one of the best shows of the still young 2014 season…and to be completely honest, it’s going to be an extremely difficult task for any show to surpass the excellent True Detective delivered week in and week out.


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Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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